Tuesday, March 5, 2013

REVIEW: The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Death Cure
TITLE: The Death Cure
AUTHOR: James Dashner
GENRE: YA, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic,
SERIES: Book #3 of the Maze Runner Trilogy
WHERE I GOT IT: Borrowed from the library
READ FROM: March 03 to 05, 2013

note: I try my hardest to give a spoiler free reviews but sometimes when talking about a book it is hard to keep it that way. When that is the case I like to warn readers that my review will give things away. This review might have some things that could spoil parts of the story for you. So read with caution.

BLURB: They cracked the secret of the maze and crossed the scorch. Now WICKED has one more task for them and that is to finish the blueprint for the cure. Just one thing, Thomas knows that he can't trust them to tell the truth.

WHAT I HATED: I was SO disappointed with this book. I loved the first one and thought the second one was okay but I had really high hopes for this one. I was totally disappointed. I started skimming parts near the end because I just wanted it to be done!

I felt that parts of the book really seemed to drag. This was probably due to the fact that once they made it to their next destination something happened that stalled them for awhile. Then once they finally started moving to the next point they were stalled again. I just wanted them to get to the end point so I could get some answers. It's almost like in a suspense movie. The person is running away and getting so close to the safe spot, that your sitting on the edge of your seat biting your nails hoping they make it but knowing there is the possibility that the won't. .

I was really hoping that Thomas would get his memory back. As bad as it sounds I was practically cheering when WICKED was going to force him to go through with the procedure because I wanted some concrete answers. On the other hand I can understand why Thomas wouldn't want to remember anything but since he was one of the most mysterious characters I felt like he should have anyways. But once it seemed like that wasn't going to happen I expected maybe learning something from Teresa but she was barely even in the book! 

CHARACTERS: I feel that Teresa and Thomas had so much potential to make the story really interesting considering we get snippets of how they were involved with WICKED from a young age, how they could communicate mentally with each other and how they had a big part in the development of the maze. I really wish that Dashner would have chosen to let us in on a bit more. The whole thing is shrouded in so much mystery that we are left to make up our own minds and to be honest I really don't like that. There is just to much left unanswered for my liking.

While I was interested in Teresa, I really hated Brenda. The only point I saw for her being there was to make Thomas continually debate about who he should be with. It got annoying after awhile. Sometimes love triangles can be interesting, this one definitely was not. Plus was she a WICKED spawn or was she really on Thomas's side and in love with him? It doesn't seem like it could be both since Wicked really doesn't seem to be “good”?

ANOTHER THING I HATED:  I also was so disappointed with the letter Newt gave Thomas to read at the right “moment”. I was willing Thomas to read that note at least a half a dozen times and when he finally did I had to reread to make sure I read it right. I was thinking it was going to be something profound, something moving, something that made me think. Instead it was 'if your my friend, kill me when I get past the gone”. WHAT!?!?! Why couldn't he have just pulled Thomas aside to ask him that and make him promise then? I mean come on Newt! You can't tell him he will “know” when the time to read it is and when he doesn't, get all mad at him because he let you down! Seriously. If it was that important to you that he kill you right after you go crazy you should have taken him aside and made sure he understood! Not leave it up to a letter you wrote! I get maybe that would have been a hard conversation but still at least he would have known your wishes. Considering the world that they are living in there are a million possibilities why Thomas wouldn't read the note at the 'right time'! I felt sooo cheated that there was all this suspense leading up to reading that note and that was all we got.

PLOT: I really did believe that WICKED was close to a cure. I really, really, really did. Even though the explanation on how they were going to reach that really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. So I was hopeful when Thomas went back.

Then rat man said this: “Thomas we need your brain” I knew at that point (and was slightly disappointed because the story was totally going in a direction I didn't expect) that rat man, and quite possible all of WICKED were all way past the gone and had been for a really long time. UGH!

Then Teresa DIES! WHAT? But to be honest, while it shocked me I found I really didn't care. She was barely in the books anyways so I was not attached to her at all. I was sort of appalled that Thomas basically was like 'meh that sucks.' 

WHAT I LIKED: I actually found that their style of swearing/slang humorous for some reason. “Those Cranks are way past the Gone.” I have a feeling I might be saying 'what the clunk' a lot or thinking people are being real 'slintheads' for awhile.

THE ENDING: While there was an ending of sorts, I was left with so many more questions. Like what was the extent of Thomas and Teresa's part in building the trials? Why were they able to communicate telepathically to each other? How did they learn that? Why can't everyone do that? Who is Chancellor Paige? Why didn't we learn about her sooner? How did they think this research was going to help them find a cure? Why did they find everything so necessary? Why didn't WICKED hire more munies to oversee their research? How did WICKED think it was going to solve the flare infection? Why didn't WICKED send immunes to this magical start over place before they discovered failure!? Was WICKED really good? Sigh, I could go on.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I have to give Dashner a high five for being very creative in this trilogy. He did create an interesting world, even if he left us with a million more questions then we started with. I guess I will have to use my imagination as to what happened to the ones that were sent to start over, even though I don't want to. I just really wish that I wasn't given such a free rein to come up with my own conclusions. I may have ranted a lot with this book but it really did make me think a lot about the story.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE TRILOGY: As a whole I really loved this series, I think maybe to go on as far as to say, one of my favourites even though I didn't like book 2 and 3 nearly as much as the 1st one.   I'm actually pretty excited to see that the first one is being made into a movie. Should be interesting to see when it comes out. 

My final thoughts on the trilogy is this: is WICKED really good? I can't really decide. I think their quest to find a cure was a good thing but I think they way they went about it was bad. Who knows maybe they were already starting to go past the Gone when they decided the trials were the only way to go. I guess we will never know. Your thoughts?

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 3, 2013

REVIEW: Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon

TITLE: Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver
AUTHOR: Eugene Salomon
GENRE: non-fiction, memoir
SETTING: New York City
WHERE I GOT IT: Library borrow
READ FROM: February 25 to march 03, 2013

ABOUT BLURB: Eugene Salomon has been a New York Taxi Driver for more then 30 years. This book is him sharing some of his most memorable moments on the job.

I found this book to be very interesting and I liked that each chapter was fairly short. I never really thought about the different type of people a taxi driver must come across on any given day, especially not in a city as big and as busy as New York City. I found all of the stories interesting and a lot of them made me smile. I was shocked to learn that people would even have sex in the back of his cab while he was driving them to their destination. I've been in New York taxi cabs before so that thought just makes me shudder. Salomon did point out that there are about 30,000+ taxi cabs in New York now at any given time so hopefully I wasn't in one of them. That number is just so hard for me to fathom though. That is a lot of taxi cabs!

This was a fun and entertaining read. I don't know how he could be in that field for as long as he did. From my experience working in retail it only takes one crappy customer to ruin your whole day. But then again I guess you never have a dull moment as a taxi driver no matter what city or town you are working in.

Reading this book makes me really want to watch the TV show Taxi that was on in the late 70's early 80's with Danny Devito, Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza etc. I was pretty young when it was originally on, but after reading this book I think it would be fun to watch again.  

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 2, 2013

REVIEW: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

TITLE: The Scorch Trials
AUTHOR: James Dashner
PUBLISHED: October 2010
GENRE: YA, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic,
SERIES: Book #2 of the Maze Runner Trilogy
WHERE I GOT IT: ebook borrowed from the library
READ FROM: February 28th to March 2nd 2013

NOTE: I try my hardest to give a spoiler free reviews but sometimes when talking about a book it is hard to keep it that way. When that is the case I like to warn readers that my review will give things away. This review might have some things that could spoil parts of the story for you. So read with caution or skip down to my final thoughts on the book.

ABOUT BLURB: Solving the riddle of the maze was supposed to be the end but instead the Gladers find that WICKED is not done with them yet and has given them the task of crossing the scorch, the most burned out and dangerous section in the world, and get to a safe haven in two weeks time. It's not as easy as it sounds since the Cranks are at every turn and WICKED is up to their old tricks again, throwing variables at them that not even Thomas would have expected. Will they finally find answers and a cure in the safe haven?

WHAT I HATED: I was a bit disappointed by this book considering I really loved the Maze Runner. For the most part it was good. There were new pieces to the puzzle thrown into the mix but it really didn't answer anything. I really didn't expect all the answers, after all there is another book but DAMN I wanted something!

Instead we are giving a small explanation for the point of the Trails that made me scratch my head because I fail to see how mapping patterns in the “kill zone” would help them create a cure for the flare. I just don't understand the logic. The only thing I can think of for that to be true is if the flare was actually a mental disease. Yet we know that can't be true because numerous times we are told that the flare was a man made disease that got out and spread rapidly. I only hope that we will get answers in the third book but from what I have been reading I am not expecting much. Which makes me think how can you write a trilogy with no answers!?

I also found numerous sentences that rubbed me the wrong way. I hate the use of the phrases “all to well” and “it was all he could do”. I don't know why but they bug me and I noticed it a lot in this book. So much that eventually I started focusing more on that then the story itself at one point which was a shame.

CHARACTERS: I also have started hating Thomas. I found his lack of understanding of why Teresa “betrayed” him annoying. Like seriously? You should be royally pissed at WICKED for making her do that not start to boo hooing about how he can't believe she still did it. She should have let you DIE Thomas she didn't because your her FRIEND so FORGIVE HER ALREADY! It really makes me question if he would have done the same for her if the situations were reversed? He seemed to really distance himself from her once the new “love” interest Brenda came on scene. I can't really decide if this is supposed to be a love triangle or what because I really don't find it to be that convincing if it was. I hated Brenda right from the beginning and I never really saw Teresa and Thomas ever getting together anyways.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I really do like the concept and the strange twists that are thrown at us but I hate that we never get any answers. I really want there to be a really good reason for everything, I really really do! I hope that the last in the trilogy gives us some answers because I felt like the second book gave just gave us more questions then answers. Right now I still don't see the POINT of what WICKED is making them go through. I don't see why if the flare infection is contagious and transmitted so easily why are these people who are immune not in a laboratory being tested to find out why they are immune. What makes them so different from everyone else?

Having said all that I’ve come to realize that even though I love the YA genre and ever since I challenged myself to actually think about a book I finish more critically then I have in the past that I am still looking through and reading this as an adult. Reading the reviews from younger readers makes me feel that maybe I am just being too critical of any story and that maybe I should enjoy the book for what is is and not be so picky.

RATING: 3 out of 5 stars